Here's how to enjoy Paris’ tres magnifique culinary scene on un petit budget.
One of the joys of traveling is eating well. For decades, Paris has long been regarded as the culinary city of Europe (and some may argue the world), yet with more than 44,000 restaurants in the city alone, it can be mind-boggling to find the perfect restaurant that meets both your budget and also your discerning palate.
With Paris being a giant melting pot of cultures, the city has a diverse range of dining options. From cheap eats on the street to lush experiences in fancy hotels. I remember the first time I visited Paris more than a decade ago. Hours of research proved that the best way to enjoy Paris without digging too deep into your pocket is actually to eat a hearty lunch. Described as a “menu du jour,” the French love a long lunch, and this gastronomic delight is even a UNESCO World Cultural listing.
In Paris, you can have elaborate degustation or tasting menus that will cost you more than $370 (€350) but at lunch, a simplified menu will cost a mere $50. The lunch menu is a condensed version and can even appear in the form of a two to three-course menu, but it gives the hungry diner a chance to enjoy a true culinary experience without too much stress on both the wallet and waistline.
Before Covid-19, many Michelin-star chefs started opening more casual restaurants but after the pandemic, more chefs started to open more casual eateries, creating a Paris teeming with restaurants that don’t compromise on taste, service, or experience. “Budget” can take on many meanings for travelers, but we’re not talking “cheap eats” here or even street food necessarily; this is true French fine dining with a smaller price tag. For just €22-50 ($25-55) you can get a gorgeous French lunch, leaving you with more cash to spend on that Parisian shopping spree.
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